Crime in South Africa is rampant. Not many social functions go without a discussion about someone who has been affected by a crime or a horrific crime incident in a nearby area.
This means that South Africans are very security-aware. While there are 180 000 police officers in South Africa, the private security industry is believed to employ over half a million people.
Jenny Reid, CEO of iFacts, has said that whilst this is the country’s sad reality, many are taking advantage of the situation and allegedly providing private security services that can often be meaningless or a pure profit-making exercise without delivering any actual value.
Reid, the first female president of the South African Security Association, said that the association had long been issuing warnings to private companies and individuals that they should not enter into a contract with non-compliant security providers. Still, many did not know what was required of a compliant security company.
Initially, consumers of security services needed to understand that the industry was governed by the Private Security Industry Regulatory Act, which clearly states that any person who knowingly or without reasonable care contracts security services contrary to a provision of the Act is guilty of an offence and on conviction of contravention is liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 24 months, or to both a fine and imprisonment. The private security industry is currently under serious threat from non-compliance by fly-by-night security companies, who use various means of avoiding statutory costs and exploiting the labour force. These exploitation factors lead to profound employee dissatisfaction, which reduces the level of security awareness and dedication. This is ultimately to the detriment of the consumer.
Compliance in the industry starts with a due diligence investigation into the security service provider, and by law, the consumer should be asking for:
- A CIPC (South African company office) Registration certificate.
- A valid PSIRA registration certificate.
- A valid PSIRA letter of good standing indicates that their legal company and security officer fees are up to date.
- A valid South African Revenue Services Clearance document. This will indicate that the company is in good standing with the authority and that all taxes are up to date.
- A valid letter of good standing with the Department of Labour to ensure that all Workman’s Compensation matters are up to date.
- By law in South Africa, all security guarding companies belong to the Private Security Sector Provident Fund (PSSPF), and a compliance certificate is easily obtainable if they are compliant.
- A valid Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Certificate.
- Proof of submission of the company’s Employment Equity Plan to the Department of Labour.
Once the above documents are obtained, it would be highly recommended that an independent party verify the documents as document fraud is rife in South Africa, and tender fraud is real and often highly probable.
Once the above documentation has been received and verified, it is strongly recommended that the employee screening policy document of the company be requested to ensure that the company is employing not only registered security officers but that ongoing screening is done of the employees to ensure that they are not employing people with criminal records.
The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) requires that an application for registration as a security officer include a report on the applicant’s criminal record. This can often be a time-consuming process and can add considerable costs to the recruitment process of a security company. Sadly there is also no obligation for officers to update their registration or have their criminal records routinely checked. A compliant and efficient security company would include all the relevant and essential processes in their recruitment policies.
Jenny Reid says that at iFacts, they encourage their clients in the security industry to conduct the following checks:
Photo Enhanced ID Verification
Criminal Record Check
Credit Check Basic (where applicable)
Verification of Matric Certificate
Verification of PSIRA registration
Integrity Test – Security Aptitude Profile (SAP)
Verification of CV References
Verification of driver’s & Public Driving Permit (where applicable)
Verification of Firearms License and Competency